For just the second time ever, the home team failed to win a game in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and that’s quite okay for the Hershey Bears as it means they knocked off #2 seed Lehigh Valley in the first round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
After taking Games 1 and 2 in Lehigh Valley, the Bears returned to the not-so-friendly confines of Giant Center and dropped two games as the Phantoms forced a Game 5. Only three teams have had a 2-0 advantage and one of them was the 2013 Hershey Bears who dropped their first round series to Providence after winning the first two games on the road that year.
Ironically enough, the Bears now face Providence after the Bruins bounced the #1 seeded Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins a few hours before Hershey defeated Lehigh Valley.
In all, 12 Bears found their way onto a scoresheet during the five-game series. Stanislav Galiev led the way with three goals, while Chris Bourque recorded two. Brief game summaries and video highlight links are below along with the series stats.
Nathan Walker was the Game 1 hero after tallying the lone goal of the game 7:38 into OT. Pheonix Copley earned a shutout, stopping all 32 shots he faced. His counterpart, Alex Lyon, was nearly perfect, stopping 20 of 21. Those three players earned post-game honors. Additionally Tyler Lewington and Galiev recorded the assists on Walker’s goal.
As low scoring as Game 1 was, the proverbial floodgates opened in Game 2 as the teams combined for 9 goals.
TJ Brennan put the Phantoms up early with a PP goal, but Galiev tied it up just a short time later. Lehigh Valley would add another PP tally from Andy Miele late in the first to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room.
Christian Djoos tied the game at 2-2 early in the second, but back-to-back goals from Greg Carey put the Bears in a 4-2 hole heading into the third.
Chris Bourque brought the Bears to within a goal early in the third and Tyler Lewington added an unassisted goal to tie the game at the midway mark of the period. Chris Bourque, looking like the Chris Bourque of old, became the hero, scoring the game-winner with 33 seconds left in the game to give Hershey a 2-0 lead in the series.
In a game that never should have gone to overtime, as a whistle from the referee blew the play dead right before Hershey scored, the Phantoms came away with a victory at Giant Center.
Galiev tallied an unassisted goal midway through the second period before Colin McDonald got the equalizer early in the third. Former Bear, Chris Conner gave Lehigh Valley the victory in OT, preventing the Bears from sweeping the series.
With a second chance to advance on home ice, the Hershey Bears suffered their worst loss of the post-season to date.
Danick Martel and Mark Zengerle helped the Phantoms to a 2-0 lead before Chandler Stephenson, who just returned from his recall to Washington, cut the lead to 1 late in the second period. Back-to-back third period goals from Scott Laughton forced a decisive Game 5 in Allentown.
Galiev and Christian Thomas each recorded first period goals and it looked as if the Bears were going to roll into the next round, but McDonald cut the lead in half with a PP goal early in the second.
In the third period, Colby Williams was left all alone on the backside of the play, and took a perfect tape-to-tape pass from Walker and gave Hershey a 3-1 lead. Taylor Leier made things interesting with 7:10 to play, but the Bears survived a late-game flurry by the Phantoms to advance to the Atlantic Division Finals opposite the Providence Bruins. That series gets underway Saturday in Hershey.
|#||Name||Games played||Goals||Assists||+/-||Shots||Pen Min.|
Pheonix Copley – 3-2; 152 saves on 163 shots (1 goal scored on EN)
THREE STARS of the GAME (Game #)
- Walker (Game 1), C. Bourque (Game 2), Gilbert (Game 5)
- Copley (Game 1), Galiev (Game 3), Copley (Game 5)
- Galiev (Game 2)
Aaron Ness – lower body
DEL – Chandler Stephenson – Recalled from loan by Washington
ADD – Chandler Stephenson – Returned on loan from Washington
Calder Cup Playoff Schedule – Round 2
Saturday, May 6 at Hershey – 7:00
Sunday, May 7 at Hershey – 5:00
Thursday, May 11 at Providence – 7:05
Friday, May 12 at Providence – 7:05
Sunday, May 14 at Providence 3:05 – IF NECESSARY
Tuesday, May 16 at Hershey 7:00 – IF NECESSARY
Wednesday, May 17 at Hershey 7:00 – IF NECESSARY
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 29, 2017